Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pascal Blogs!

Hello everyone!  This is my first blog post in a long time - and before posting, I had to make sure I remembered how to play - the first three games of the season have been the first three in almost a year for me, and I'm somewhat happy with my play so far.  In the first game, I fell victim to Joel Benjamin's GOTW effort, but I thought the game was quite reasonable.  When we both got low on time, I purposely provoked him to go for an attack, in the hope I could show off my blitz skills in a complicated position.  This backfired completely, as I got into big trouble quickly, and he wrapped things up nicely.  In the second week I took my GOTW revenge as I was able to play a nice combo to win against Hungaski, in a game that was altogether more unclear than clear.  The game vs Sam this week, which I annotate below, was fairly well played, with a couple of inaccuracies from both sides.  It also illustrates a difficult thing in team play, balancing what the team needs with what the position needs. Ultimately, I feel my decision to repeat was wrong, as the position was without risk and it would not have been long for me to realize Bodek's win had evaporated. So I should have tried, for better or worse.

Charbonneau-NY - Shankland-NE [A34]
1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 d5 5.0-0 e5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Nc3 Nc7 8.a3 Rb8 This move has been played by strong players, and while it looks weird, it stops for the time being white's idea of playing b4 9.Rb1 [9.b4 would not work out too well since the intended 9...cxb4 10.axb4 Bxb4 11.Nxe5 Nxe5 12.Qa4+ Nc6 13.Bxc6+ bxc6 14.Qxb4 and white's queen is hanging!]
9...f6 10.Ne1 More habitual would be d3 followed by Be3. The move in the game is probably too slow - by the time white gets in b4, black is well enough developed to more or less equalized. 10...Be7 11.b4 Bf5 [11...cxb4 12.axb4 Bxb4 is too dangerous, white has many moves here that should give him at least a slight edge 13.Nd3 a5 (13...Bxc3 14.Bxc6+) 14.Ba3 being one possibility] 12.Nc2 0-0 13.d3 Qd7 Black has played logical but good moves, and here, I overestimated my chances a bit, mostly by spending too much time. I should have admitted the position was just about equal and made moves. 14.bxc5 [14.Be3 was natural and probably better 14...b6 (14...Ne6 15.Ne4) 15.bxc5 bxc5 and while white's pawn structure looks better, I think black is too active for white to show anything] 14...Bxc5 15.Ne4 [15.Nb4 Nd4 16.e3 Nde6 17.Nbd5 would have been a cleaner way to steer the game towards equality] 15...Be7 16.Be3 Nd5 17.Bd2 b6 white's last few moves have been indecisive, and showed that I was already low on time. Now I realized it was time to make sure I did not fall worse 18.Nb4 Ncxb4 19.axb4 Rbc8 20.b5

 I played this sound positional move quickly, but neither of us noticed the tactical flaw in it 20...Rc7 [20...Be6 this idea came about later in the game, but here it's especially annoying, ...f5 Ng5 Bxg5 Bxg5 Nc3 is threatened with a fork, and it's not easy for white to prevent it without weakening his position, black is better.] 21.Qb3 now white can breathe again and if anything, his position is a bit better because of black's fixed pawns 21...Be6 22.Qb2 Rfc8 23.Rfc1 h6 24.Rxc7 Rxc7 25.Nc3 Bc5 26.Nxd5 Bxd5 27.Bxd5+ Qxd5 28.Rc1 all played with little time, but I managed to play this part well. Now black's move helps white's cause. I think Sam thought my time pressure could show, but the move only helps white turn his slightly better pawn structure into an even slightly better pawn structure. It's not much, but :) 28...e4 29.dxe4 Qxe4 30.Be3 Solidly played 30...Qd5 31.Qb1 ideas of Rd1 31...Qf7 32.Rd1 Rd7 33.Rc1 Rc7 34.Rd1 Rd7 35.Rc1 Rc7

and I agreed to a draw, mostly because I saw our board 3 had a winning position, and board four was worse but it was random enough I thought there were chances. Turns out my evaluation was less than optimal. In reality there is little risk for white here, and if not for the team I would have played on. White's goal will be to push pawns on the kingside, one fine day :) 1/2-1/2

The Knights have a lot to look forward to this season. Nico lost a game this week - but his play has been full of poise. 

Times-NE - Checa-NY [D05]

Nico is a great young player - but in this game, his lack of experience hurts him in the opening.
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 c5 4.c3 Nc6 An invitation to play a "noteboom" or a "slav" down a tempo. While this may not be so bad, it needs to be handled very carefully. 5.dxc5 a5 6.Bb5 e6 7.b4

7...axb4 This move helps white a lot - and was based on a miscalculation. [7...Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qb3 Bd7 And while I'd rather be white, black does have compensation here.] 8.cxb4 Bd7 9.Bxc6 Bxc6 10.Nc3 now white's position is easy to play. Nico tried his best to complicate the position, but white's advantage was too stable. We know he's going to bounce back! 10...Be7 11.Bb2 0-0 12.0-0 Qb8 13.Qc2 e5 14.Ne2 A very strong plan 14...e4 15.Nfd4 Ng4 16.Ng3

16.. Bd7 [16...g6 taking the f5 square away from the knight and intending h5-h4, may have been black's best chance] 17.Qe2 f5 18.f4 exf3 19.Qxf3 Rf7 20.h3 Nh6 21.Nge2 Qe5 22.Nf4 The knights are too strong 22...g5 23.Nd3 Qc7 24.Qxd5 Bf6 25.Rf2 Re8 26.Re1 g4 27.Nxf5 Nxf5 28.Bxf6 Be6 29.Qe5 Qd7 30.Nf4 Bxa2 31.Qc3 Be6 32.Nh5 Bd5 33.Be5 gxh3 34.e4 Bxe4 35.gxh3 Qc6 36.Nf6+ Rxf6 37.Bxf6 Re6 38.Be5 Rg6+ 39.Kh2 Nh4 40.Ref1 Rg2+ 41.Rxg2+ Bxg2 42.Qg3+ Qg6 43.Rf6 Nf3+ 44.Rxf3 Bxf3 45.Qxf3 Qe6 46.Qg4+ Qxg4 47.hxg4 Kf7 48.b5 Ke6 49.c6 bxc6 50.b6 Kd7 51.b7 1-0

Matt - whose work schedule looks a lot like mine, has not managed to stay out of time pressure, but he's managed to stay out of trouble for the most part.

Winer-NE - Herman-NY [D30]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 e6 4.e3 Nd7 5.Bd3 Bd6 6.0-0 f5 7.b3 Nh6 8.Ba3 Bxa3 9.Nxa3 Qf6 10.b4 0-0 11.b5 dxc4 12.Bxc4 cxb5 13.Nxb5 Nb6 14.Be2 Nf7 15.Qb3 Nd5 16.Na3 b6 17.Rfc1 Bb7 18.Nc4 Rfd8 19.Na5 bxa5 20.Qxb7 Nd6 21.Qa6 

Black is on the verge of being in trouble but Matt plays the resourceful 21...f4! 22.exf4 Nxf4 23.Bf1 Nh3+ [23...Rab8 24.Qxa5 (24.g3 Nd5 25.Bg2 Rb2 26.Qxa5 Ne4 with close to enough counterplay) 24...Nh3+ seemed to be a better move order for black] 24.gxh3 Qxf3 25.Bg2 Qf4 26.Qe2 [26.Bxa8 Rxa8 27.Qe2 in hindsight this capture looks like it is safe enough for white, who must have had knightmares landing on f3.] 26...Rab8 the worst is over for black, and matt manages to handle the rest of the game precisely despite low time 27.Qxe6+ Kh8 28.Qe5 Rf8 29.Qxf4 Rxf4 30.Rab1 Rbf8 31.Rc5 Rxf2 32.Rxa5 Nc4 33.Rg5 h6 34.Rg3 Rxa2 35.Bd5 Ra4 36.Bxc4 Rxc4 37.Rb7 Rc1+ 38.Kg2 Rc2+ 39.Kg1 Re8 40.Kf1 Rxh2 41.Rgxg7 at this point I was not sure who was trying to win, but it ended as it should anyway 41...Rxh3 42.Rh7+ Kg8 43.Rbg7+ Kf8 44.Rxa7 Kg8 45.Rag7+ Kf8 1/2-1/2

Bodek looks like he should win every game!

Bodek-NY - Brattain-NE [B72]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.h3 g6 7.Bc4 Bg7 8.Bb3 0-0 9.0-0 Nc6 10.Be3 Bd7 11.Re1 Na5 12.f4 Nxb3 13.axb3 Rc8 14.e5 Ne8 15.Bf2 dxe5 16.fxe5 Nc7 17.Qf3 Nb5 18.Ncxb5 axb5 19.Qxb7 Rc7 20.Qb6 Qb8 21.Qxb8 Rxb8 22.b4 e6 23.c3 Rcc8 24.Nb3 Bc6 25.Bc5 Bd5 26.Nd4 Ra8 27.Bd6 Bc4 28.Ra5 f6 29.b3 Bd5 30.Nxb5 Rxa5 31.bxa5 Bxb3 32.a6 fxe5 33.a7 Bd5

Bodek has played very well to obtain a winning advantage. His play has been so steady I assumed he would not let this one slip, but it turned out to be more slippery than it looked: 34.Bxe5 [34.Ra1 Ba8 (34...e4 35.Nc7) 35.Nc7 Bf8 36.Nxa8 Bxd6 37.Nb6 was the most "human" way to win] 34...Bxe5 35.Rxe5 Ra8 36.Nc7? [36.Rxd5! exd5 37.Kf2 Kf7 38.Ke3 Ke7 39.Kd4 Kd7 40.Kxd5 Rf8 41.Kc5 is completely winning - but it's easier for a computer to be willing to give up an exchange than the human; 36.Re1 Bc4 37.Nd6 Ba2! is not so simple; 36.g4 Kg7 37.g5 is very human and should be close to winning too] 36...Rxa7 37.Nxd5 exd5 38.Rxd5 Rook endings are never easy! 38...Rc7 39.Rd3 Kf7 40.Kf2 Ke6 41.Ke2 Ke5 42.Re3+ Kf5 43.Kd3 Rd7+ 44.Kc4 Kf4 45.Rf3+ Ke4 46.Rg3 Rd2 47.Kb3 Kf4 48.Rg4+ Kf5 49.c4 Rd3+ 50.Kc2 Ra3 51.c5 Ke5 52.Kd2 Kd5 black has played well and the draw is near 53.Rg5+ Kd4 54.h4 Ra2+ 55.Kd1 Ra6 56.h5 Rc6 57.hxg6 hxg6 58.Ke2 Rxc5 59.Rxg6 Ke4 60.Kf2 [60.Rf6 had to be played - and while it's a draw, black would still need to be careful with his king cut off] 60...Kf4 61.Rg8 Rc2+ 62.Kg1 Rb2 63.Kh2 Rb6 64.Rh8 Rg6 65.g3+ Kg5 66.Kh3 Kf6 67.Rh7 Kg5 68.Rh4 Rc6 69.Rg4+ Kh5 70.Rg8 Rc3 71.Ra8 Kg5 72.Ra5+ Kg6 73.Kh4 Rc4+ 74.g4 Rc6 75.Ra8 Kg7 76.Rd8 Rc5 77.Rd7+ Kg6 78.Rd6+ Kg7 79.Re6 Rb5 80.Kg3 Rb4 81.Kf3 Kf7 82.Re4 Rxe4 83.Kxe4 Kg6 84.Kf4 Kf6 85.g5+ Kg6 86.Kg4 Kg7 87.Kf5 Kf7 88.g6+ Kg7 89.Kg5 Kg8 90.Kh5 Kg7 91.Kg5 Kg8 92.Kf6 Kf8 93.Ke6 Kg7 94.Kf5 Kg8 1/2-1/2

  And some of our players have yet to make their debut.

Having to play for the Knights brings back something in me - and so I've also been dabbling on and ICC - blitzing a fair bit to get back into tactical shape.  2013 has been a year for me to get back into shape - but chess-wise, I clearly still have work to do!  It's still difficult to come play at the Marshall after having been at work for nearly 12 hours - but somehow, I can't stay away from it. 

Until next time...

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